Tengzhou Museum of Han Dynasty Pictorial Bricks
Address: 1 Fuqian East Road, Tengzhou city, Shandong province
Opening hours: 9:00 am -5:00 pm (entry until 4:30 pm)
Closed Mondays (except for national holidays)
General admission: Free
Han Dynasty (206BC-AD 220) pictorial bricks were discovered in Tengzhou, East China’s Shandong province, during the late Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) and the early Republic of China (1912-49), and the Tengzhou Museum of Han Dynasty Pictorial Bricks was established and opened to the public to celebrate them in 1997. Covering 9,100 square meters, it is the only pictorial bricks museum in Shandong province and is one of the three museums dedicated to this form of art in China. Its collection of more than 800 bricks carved with pictures reaches back more than 2,000 years.
The bricks are stone tomb and ancestral temple components with narratives, made during the Han Dynasty. The narratives carved in relief on the stone bricks may explore astronomy, geography, legends, real life, ethnic relations, the system of chariots, horses, or clothing; political and economic development as well as social ideology, philosophy and aesthetics are also covered. Dubbed the "epitome of the Han society" and the "treasure of Oriental art", the Han Dynasty pictorial bricks have endeared themselves to intellectuals, artists, and epigraphists.
With an area of nearly 10,000 square meters, the new building of the museum is designed in a magnificent Han dynasty architectural style. It opened to the public in 2008. Now, it is a national first-class museum, a national 3A-level tourist attraction, and a provincial education base that exudes ancient charms. At present, the museum, which receives more than 300,000 visitors annually, has a collection of 20,000 cultural relics dating to the Han Dynasty that include more than 2,000 Han Dynasty pictorial bricks.
More than 200 Han Dynasty pictorial bricks with different styles and themes make up the museum’s permanent collection.
Stone sarcophagus reliefs discovered in Tengzhou displayed in the museum’s exhibition hall are a rich resource for understanding the Han culture and researching its carved stones. Thanks to its display of exquisite ancestral temple stones with varied pictorial content and rich and diversified carving techniques, the museum continues to exert a significant influence in China.